Jeremiah Fowler Life Sketch

(1711 - about 1786)

Jeremiah Fowler was born on May 12, 1711, in Prince George's County, British Colonial Maryland. Jeremiah married Drucilla Isaac on February 10, 1738, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. Jeremiah Fowler died around 1786, location unknown.

Jeremiah Fowler was born in Prince George's County, British Colonial Maryland, on May 12, 1711, the 10th child of Thomas Fowler and Susannah Iiams. Jeremiah lived on his father's plantation, 400 acres known as “Ridgely's and Tyler's Chance” located in Prince George's County near present day Bowie, between Whitemarsh and the Patuxent River.

When Jeremiah was 4 years of age, his father died intestate. Jeremiah's oldest brother William was heir to the entire estate. The rest of Jeremiah's older brothers and sisters were likely bound in servitude to learn a trade. Just 4 years of age, it is not known whether Jeremiah remained with his mother and her second husband, Mark Brown although it appears that Jeremiah remained in Prince George's County where he met his wife and raised his family.

On February 10, 1738, Jeremiah married Drucilla Isaac, also of Prince George's County, daughter of Richard Isaac and Sarah Pottinger, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. Drucilla was 15 years of age. It was the second marriage between the Fowlers and the Isaacs. In 1734 Jeremiah's younger brother Benoni Fowler married Keziah Issac, Drucilla's older sister.

While there are no church records or other sources that definitively prove Jeremiah and Drucilla's children, there is strong evidence to suggest that Jeremiah and Drucilla were parents to the following children:

  1. Sarah Fowler
  2. Isaac Fowler
  3. Mathew Fowler
  4. Jeremiah Fowler Jr.
  5. Drucilla Fowler
  6. Richard Fowler
  7. Jemima Fowler
  8. Joseph Fowler
  9. Thomas Fowler

On June 23, 1741, John Prather Sr. sold 100 acres of land to Drucilla Fowler, wife of Jeremiah Fowler, a tract called “Spraddox Forrest”, located in Prince George's County off a branch of the Potomac River, a little north of Bladensberg. The transaction is unusual for two reasons. First, John Prather sold the land directly to Drucilla, and second, the sales price was only 14 pounds for 100 acres of land. Land was seldomly sold to women in Colonial America unless the woman was a relation like a daughter, wife, or a niece, or was a widow. As of today, no familial relationship has been established between John Prather Sr. and Drucilla Isaac Fowler.

Jeremiah and Drucilla surely made their home and raised their family on this plantation which conveniently adjoined the plantation of their siblings Benoni and Keziah Fowler.

In 1748 Jeremiah, along with his brother Benoni Fowler, served as Sergeants in the Prince George's County Colonial Militia in Thomas Sappington's company.

Around 1754 Benoni and Keziah Fowler decided to move to South Carolina. They sold their plantation to Joseph Isaac, Keziah and Drucilla's brother, and surveyed a tract of land in Newberry County on Duncan's Creek.

In 1757 Drucilla's father Richard Isaac died. His estate was settled in 1762. As was customary, Drucilla's share of her father's estate, 94 pounds 11 shillings and 1 pence, was paid to her husband Jeremiah Fowler. Sometime prior to the settlement of Richard Isaac's estate, Benoni Fowler died, therefore Keziah's share of her father's estate was paid directly to her.

By April of 1764, Jeremiah was in debt in the amount of 100 pounds. To satisfy the debt, he sold two slaves to merchants Thomas Hartley and Sons, negroes Jacob, age 50 years, and Fido, age 40 years.

Also in 1764, Jeremiah's oldest children began to marry. Daughter Sarah married Joshua Wilson Selby and son Isaac married Elizabeth Selby, Joshua Selby's sister. In 1770, Isaac surveyed and patented 22 acres near his parents and inlaws and called it “Selby's Discovery”.

On May 12, 1774, an ad appeared in the Maryland Gazette:

To be sold on the premises to the highest bidder on Monday the 20th of June next

A Tract or parcel of land called Spradoxes Forest containing 100 acres lying in Prince George's county about nine miles from Bladenberg and four miles from Mssrs Snowdens Iron Works whereon are a new dwelling house 24 feet square, three tobacco houses, corn house, milk house, and sundry other houses, a very good apple orchard containing upwards of 200 fine bearing trees, a small peach orchard and many other fruit trees. The land lays level and is fit wither for planting or farming; the plantation is in very good repair.

Jeremiah Fowler

The sale of “Spraddox Forrest” was set for June 20, 1774. Clearly the Fowler's were planning a move. However the times were uncertain and the sale did not occur.

In 1775 daughter Drucilla married Lingan Wilson Selby, brother of Joshua Wilson Selby and Elizabeth Selby.

With war with Britain declared, Maryland conducted a census in 1776 to gain an accurate population count for apportioning the costs to fight the war. Jeremiah and Drucilla were still living in Prince George's County when the Maryland State Census was conducted. The following individuals were recorded in the Fowler household: Jeremiah age 65, and males ages 27, 21, 17, 13, 10; Drucilla, age 53 and females ages 38, 16 and 7. It is likely that the males were Jeremiah Jr. 27, Richard 21, Joseph 17 and Thomas 13. One of the females was Jemima 16. Due to Drucilla's age, it is unlikely that she was the mother of the 7 year old female. Therefore, the other two females could be a widowed daughter or daughter-in-law, 38, and her daughter, 7. That leaves one 10 year old male. It is possible that the male could be Drucilla's son but it is more likely that the male is the son of the 38 year old female.

The census also recorded that Jeremiah owned 1 slave and that Jeremiah and Drucilla's married daughters Sarah Selby and Drucilla Selby lived nearby, as well as their son Issac.

With the country at war, son Mathew enlisted and served as an officer in the Revolutionary War. At the conclusion of the war he was awarded land for his service.

Between 1776 and 1778, Maryland required all men of age who were not serving in the war to take an oath of fidelity and allegiance to Maryland. Jeremiah Fowler swore the oath as well as his sons Isaac, Jeremiah Jr., Richard, Joseph and Thomas.

When son Joseph was old enough to serve, he enlisted and was recorded in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1779 as one of the soldiers who built Fort Boonesborough. Joseph was there along with John Sappington and Daniel Boone. According to Sappington family lore, John Sappington met his future wife Jemima Fowler when he returned to Maryland with one of Jemima's brothers to visit their families sometime in 1780. The brother was likely Joseph. Jemima Fowler and John Sappington married in January of 1781 in Prince George's County, Maryland. Sometime before 1787, Joseph returned to Kentucky and settled near Fort Boonesborough and Daniel Boone's Station Camp.

Son Jeremiah Jr. left Maryland for the northwest territory sometime after the census and by 1777, settled on land near Cross Creek, current day Ohio County, West Virginia. In 1787 he sold his land and joined his brother Joseph in Madison County, Kentucky.

In January of 1779 son Richard married Nancy Ann Summers in Prince George's County, Maryland.

On January 6, 1781, Jeremiah and Drucilla sold “Spraddox Forrest” to their son-in-law, Joshua Wilson Selby, husband of Sarah. Jeremiah was approaching 70 years of age. Drucilla was 57 years old. From subsequent records, it appears that Jeremiah and Drucilla's sons and daughters, except for Joshua and Sarah Selby, made their way west, first to western Pennsylvania and then later to Kentucky.

When William MacGruder Selby wrote his will in 1773, Jeremiah Fowler along with William Wilson and James Beall witnessed the will. When the will was proved in 1783, Jeremiah was not present to attest to the validity of the Will either because he had moved or he was deceased.

It is uncertain what happened to son Isaac Fowler after 1778. His property, “Selby's Discovery” was recorded in the possession of his brother-in-law William Wilson Selby in 1798. Isaac's widow purportedly married Nicholas Leavens after Isaac's death, either in Maryland or Western Pennsylvania.

By 1789 sons Jeremiah Jr., Richard, and Thomas had joined their brothers Joseph and Mathew in Madison County, Kentucky. Daughter Jemima Sappington was there as well. Daughter Drucilla Selby and her family settled southeast of Madison County in Green County, the area where they lived eventually became Adair County.

As for Jeremiah Fowler, he likely died sometime between 1781 and 1789, location unknown. His wife Drucilla's fate is also somewhat of a mystery. Many believe that Drucilla Fowler reached Madison, Kentucky, with her sons, died in 1810, and was buried in Scudder Cemetery near Redhouse, Kentucky. The gravestone is very worn, however the words “Drucilla Wife of Isaac Fowler” can clearly be read which would seem to indicate that this is not Jeremiah's wife. Is the gravestone accurate?

In the same cemetery, son Richard Fowler who died in 1817 is buried, along with his wife, Nancy Summers Fowler who died in 1824. All three gravestones are similar and may have been created at the same time. Could the stone carver have made a mistake and the gravestone was supposed to read “Drucilla Isaac Fowler” and not “Drucilla Wife of Isaac Fowler”?

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Completed: May 2023


"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Jeremiah Fowler, 1711.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Jeremiah Fowler, 1738.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Benoni Fowler, 1734.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Prince George's County. Liber Y Folio 297.

Maryland State Archives. Colonial Wars. Index. Crauford to Hendrixson.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Prince George's County. Liber NN Folio 316.

“South Carolina Land Plats, 1731-1861; Indexes, 1688-1872”, FamilySearch. Liber 7 Folio 257.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts. Liber 38 Folio 148.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Prince George's County. Liber TT Folio 199.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Sarah Fowler in entry for Joshua Wilson Selby, 1764.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Prince George's County. Patents. Certificate #1967.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Gazette. May 1774.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Census of 1776. Prince George's County.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Oath of Fidelity. Index. Index 47. Dos-Fre.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Richard Fowler, 1779.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Jemima Fowler in entry for John Sapington, 1781.

“The Early Settlers of Boonesborough”, Fort Boonesborough Living History.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Prince George's County. Liber FF 1 Folio 86.

"Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999," images, FamilySearch, Prince George's > Wills 1770 vol 1 > image 84 of 337; Hall of Records, Annapolis.

Maryland State Archives. 1798 Federal Direct Tax. Volume 729, pg 1954.

"Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990," database with images, FamilySearch, Madison > Mixed probate records, 1787-1819, Vol. A-B > image 131 of 676; county courthouses, Kentucky.

“Tax Books, 1787-1874”, database, FamilySearch, Madison County (Kentucky). Tax Assessor.

USGenWeb Archives Project. Madison County, Kentucky. Scudder Cemetery.

Jeremiah Fowler genealogy research